Chest Pain Center

Chest pain and other symptoms of heart attack are common reasons for patients to arrive at the Emergency Department. UNC Medical Center is recognized as a leader in caring for patients with heart attack symptoms, emphasizing efficient assessment and evaluation, followed by rapid treatment.

Accredited Chest Pain Center

In 2014, UNC Medical Center was accredited as a Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Medical Centers receiving this designation have achieved the highest level of expertise in treating patients who arrive in the Emergency Department with symptoms of a heart attack.

What This Means for You

The UNC Chest Pain Center provides a continuum of care for patients, with three main areas of emphasis:

  • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
  • Treating patients quickly during the critical window of time when heart muscle can be saved
  • Monitoring patients when it is unclear if they are experiencing a heart attack to ensure they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital

Common Heart Attack Warning Signs

Not all heart attacks are the dramatic events we’ve seen in the movies. Some develop slowly with pain or discomfort. It’s important to understand the warning signs and understand when to seek help. Warning signs include:

  • Chest Discomfort: Many heart attacks involve chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes.
  • Other Upper Body Discomfort: It is common for patients to experience jaw pain, left arm discomfort and/or neck pain prior to having a heart attack.
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Some people, including women, the elderly, and patients with diabetes may not experience classic symptoms of heart attack. Many report unexplained severe anxiety, fatigue and/or overall lack of energy.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call 911 right away.